The Ballarat Clemente Program: A doorway to the treasures of humanities education

Year: 2010

Author: Gervasoni, Ann, Smith, Jeremy, Howard, Peter

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper provides insight into the experience of Clemente education for five Ballarat students who each took part in an audio-taped semi-structured interview. The interviews explored the impact that university study had on the lives of each student, and the responses suggest that the Clemente Program was life-giving for these students. Student insights identified through an analysis of interview transcripts included: the importance of providing a supportive learning environment for people lacking life opportunities and routine; students feeling better and happier with themselves because of personal learning achievements; doing something that was about ‘me’; the significance of support from the Learning Partners and the program’s counsellor; students appreciating their strengths; students rekindling dreams; students seeing a way out of poverty for their family; finding friendship and connection; students appreciating the academic disciplines; improvements in well-being and mental health; pride in achievements; and apprehension of what comes in the future after graduation. These insights highlighted the treasures that students found when engaged in a humanities education based upon community-based socially supported educational structures that enabled them to engage and participate initially.

Key Phrase: Social Exclusion and the Impact of Education for Bringing About Change